The performance of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Delta has been rated very high since the advent of the 4th Republic in 1999.
Mr Olisa Ifeajika, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, stated this while speaking on AIT’s “Focus Nigeria” programme on Friday and said that from 1999 when the current democratic dispensation commenced, PDP had performed quite well in building relevant infrastructure and developing human capital.
He remarked that with the solid foundation laid by previous administrations of PDP in the state, Okowa had continued to build on it for a stronger Delta.
Ifeajika noted that the party’s governorship candidate in the 2023 elections, Chief Sheriff Oborevwori, by his MORE Agenda, would build more for Deltans from where the Okowa administration would stop.
According to him, in terms of politics, Delta has always been a PDP state and the figures and evidence are there to show what the party has done for Deltans since 1999 when it came to power in the state.
“Luckily for Deltans, for every regime, the governors have been wonderful persons and governance has continued to improve with each regime.
“Each regime adds something to what has been done. And, because it is politics, PDP is not relenting; we have been going round campaigning to the people in spite of the fact that they have known our capacity since 1999.
“We have been going from ward-to-ward. We don’t take the people for granted notwithstanding what we have done for them. You can also see how the campaign at the national level is moving,” he said.
On the debt profile of the state, Ifeajika said that a larger chunk of it was carried over from the previous administration while another part resulted from redeemable contractual obligations.
He said the N150 billion “bridging finance’’ which the state government earlier sought through approval by the House of Assembly did not add to the state’s debt profile “because the facility was not taken’’.
“Governor Okowa earlier wrote to the House of Assembly for approval for the bridging finance, with a list of the projects the money would be deployed to, including the ongoing construction of Ughelli-Asaba dualisation.
“Others are the Koka Flyover and interchange, the settlement of pension areas and the completion of ongoing Leisure Park and Film Village project.
“We also have some projects being constructed at the three new universities established by the state government. All these were contained in the letter the governor sent to the House of Assembly.
“Unfortunately, the money was not obtained as contemplated, but even at that, the opposition in the state had already started shouting that the governor had taken a loan of N150 billion.
“But, unlike Governor Okowa, who informed Deltans about the refunds from onset, and made public his intention to seek N150 billion bridging-finance to fund some projects, his whistle-blowing counterpart did not inform his people about the refund nor approached the state’s legislature for approval to spend the money until that day that he thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for the money.
“Note that the state government did not collect the N150 billion facility; that money did not come through. But, in the case of some states, like Rivers, they discounted their monies and collected it up-front. They did not wait for the five years to run, to get the refunds on quarterly installments.
“But even without accessing the N150 billion facility, work has been ongoing on various projects. The Koka Interchange, the Leisure Park and Film Village are nearing completion. The Film Village and Leisure Park will be inaugurated this month.
“Another attempt was made at obtaining the bridging finance, having already got the approval from the legislature but the fund was not collected. This time, it was brought to N100 billion, and N30 billion has now come from the N100 billion requested.
“I need to state that the N150 billion that we did not even take, did not in any way add to the debt profile of the state.
“And, we should also remember that government is a continuum and therefore, the debt profile that you are even talking about was majorly inherited from the past administration.
“From the N30 billion that came, N5 billion was allocated to pensions because the pension figures inherited by this administration was huge, close to N100 billion, but Governor Okowa has defrayed it and brought it to about N24 billion.
“While Delta considered the next administration by not discounting and collecting its N240 billion upfront, other states took their monies up-front without considering the next administration,” he stated.